GDPR aftermath

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May 25th has now come and gone and I’m hoping this will bring an end to all the emails I’ve been receiving on a daily basis. I’m a little shocked by how many mailing lists I’m subscribed to and have taken the opportunity to unsubscribe from lots of them. For many businesses it’s the culmination of months and months of preparation and probably a lot of stress. Despite all of this, I do support our right to privacy and our right to be forgotten but there have been some casualties. On Thursday afternoon I received an email from AuroraWatch UK. It started like this:

It’s with great sadness that we are going to have to close the AuroraWatch UK email alert system with immediate effect.

And:

Some of you might be wondering if this is related to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that comes into effect from tomorrow (25 May 2018). The honest answer is that GDPR has contributed to the decision. We’re very proud that AuroraWatch UK has always operated within the spirit of what the new GDPR is trying to achieve – we take privacy and data security very seriously. However, we face challenges demonstrating when consent was received to store the email addresses of some 20,000 legacy users. Furthermore, the GDPR could result in significant financial penalties in the event of data loss. The upshot of this is that we will be securely deleting your subscription email address shortly.

The good news is the AuroraWatch service is not being shut down and I can continue to receive alerts via social media. More details are on their site. This makes me wonder whether email is dying? It’s not such a great medium for receiving alerts and information. I despise it as a method for having group conversations and discussions. Blogs, social media, and instant messaging apps are much better for this and probably increasingly better for notifications too. There are also pockets of young people who don’t use email at all and depend entirely on smart phones and instant messaging.

In case anyone is wondering, I haven’t done anything about GDPR for my own blog (there’s nothing I can do), despite having subscribers who regularly receive my posts by email (thank you!!). According to this, I’m not engaging in any economic activity with my blog and so it doesn’t apply. However my subscribers can unsubscribe at anytime and this has always been the case.